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The mystery of the two-headed calf

BY LÉO CHARBONNEAU | JAN 11 2010

There’s plenty of folklore, but few facts, about the origins of a two-headed calf on display in the pathology wing of the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

The calf (pictured above) was there well before technical supervisor Lois Ridgway began working in pathology. She told the university’s On Campus News that she heard it arrived alive, was euthanized due to complications, and was latter stuffed. Another employee, Al Brock, recalls a different story – the calf arrived as an anonymous gift from someone back in 1972, already stuffed and in a display case.

Two-headed animals are not that uncommon, says Ms. Ridgway. “We average about one of these kinds of bovine per year in pathology. It’s a sad situation.” Such mutations usually stem from weird cell division after fertilization, she notes.

A stuffed two-headed lamb sits next to the calf, also of unknown provenance.

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